This interesting book covers some hundred documents of Simón Bolívar’s work. It thus only represents a very small part of the Liberator’s literary lifework if one considers, as the editor mentions, that the Bolivarian Society of Venezuela published until today eleven volumes with a total of 2,290 writings which only go as far as October 31, 1817.
The one hundred documents which are assembled in this volume have been carefully selected and in a single volume intend to give the general reader and not only the historian or the Latin Americanist a well rounded and precise synthesis of Bolívar’s political, social, and economic thought. Therefore, the book neither includes letters of a purely private and intimate nature or literary character nor those famous military bulletins and administrative orders which would otherwise also be part of the works of Bolívar.
The editor has used the most accurate sources, among them the Bolivarian editions of Vicente Lecuna. For clarity’s sake the orthography has been modernized. The result is a well conceived book which not only contains such famous documents as the Oath of Rome, the Manifesto of Cartagena, the Letter of Jamaica, the Message to the Congress of Angostura, the convocation of the Congress of Panama, and the address to the Bolivian Congress with which Bolívar submitted his draft Constitution of 1826, but also some forty-four letters and many messages, speeches, communications, decrees, and proclamations. All together, these give us an impressive view of Bolívar’s thought—his ideas on liberty and representative government, his ideals of social equality with the repudiation of such institutions as the mita and slavery, his continuous struggle against corruption and ineptness, his advocacy of the Moral Power, his zeal for education and culture, his vision for a Pan American and universalist policy, his concern for the preservation of national wealth, and his protection of agriculture and industry.
Finally, the editor has included a valuable chronology of Bolívar’s life which runs parallel to the history of Venezuela, Latin America, and the rest of the world. All in all, the book represents an excellent contribution to the study of Bolívar.